Huancayna Sauce

October 20, 2022
Created by Chef Freyka Nuñez Del Prado
Serves 3 cups
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion sliced
  • 3 large fire roasted orange peppers, in place of peruvian hot yellow pepppers
  • 1/4 habanero chili seeded
  • 1/2 cup canola mayo
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 oz queso fresco, or substitute 3 oz of feta cheese if desired
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12 each saltine crackers more as needed to thicken sauce
  • canola oil is needed/ and for frying

Huancayna sauce has captivated countless tourists to Peru with its spicy, smooth, cheesy taste, and its vibrant color. It should be slightly thick but still able to drizzle and cling over food. Huancayna recipes are many, as they change from home to home; every mom has her own twist to it. I make 3 different types, but I also improvise with what I have on hand. This recipe is very versatile, you can omit the mayo and use straight oil instead; or use evaporated milk for a creamier texture. If you don’t have crackers, use bread instead. Gluten free? Not a problem! The sauce can also be thickened with a boiled potato. No Peruvian chiles? Go for orange bell peppers with a little habanero. The results will always be delicious!

1. In a small sauté pan, over medium-high heat, add 1-2 tablespoons of oil.

2. When oil is hot and shimmering, add the onions and sauté them until slightly tender and very lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

3. Add all ingredients and the reserved onion to the pitcher of a blender. Blend until smooth and check for seasoning, adding a pinch of salt at a time to taste.

4. If sauce is too thin, add a few more crackers to thicken. If it is too thick, add water or milk a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Add a few teaspoons of Canola oil to smooth out the sauce if needed, and to add a nice shine.

5. Serve with fried or boiled Yukon gold potatoes or with a causa rellena limeña.